11-July-2013Ordered Blackhawk lowboy TANDEM Quad from poweredparagliders.com.au
Engine: HellCat-360cc 4 Stroke Engine with Electric Start (35HP).
Cage: XXLT Rhino Cage (156cm, 4 piece, Two Ring Cage)
Propeller: $250 - 137cm
Cage_Tank: inc. Standard sideways mounted 8.3 litre Fuel Tank and Fittings.
ParaGlider: $1300.00, 36sq.mt Velocity EDGE Glider. (130kg to 215kg)
Quad: $750.00, TANDEM Quad with 42cm FAT Beach Tyres, Rims, Metal Stub Axles & Fiberglass Axles.
Quad_Colour: Black Cherry Metallic.
Quad_Tank & Blanket: inc.
12-July-2013Paid for PPC lessons.
14-July-2013Received official Quad quote.
16-July-2013Applied for RAA student membership.
Waiting for freight quote before finalizing quad order.
18-July-2013RAA membership card etc arrive.
Still no firm quote due to the blackhawk team being tied up shooting a discovery channel doco.
Delivery time is expected to be about four weeks - mid August.
25-July-2013Order finalized and money transferred.
$20,995.56 so far. That includes a lot of extras like radio,instruments,helmet and suite.
I will probably also get hit for GST on the engine.
I still haven't started training because the weather is bad for it. I'm doing the study for it though.
16-Aug-2013.Several calls to Zane at RAA ops.
It now seems the licensing part is OK but the registration may have problems.
It is not clear ATM whether the quad has an LSA statement of compliance.
VHF radios arrived.
The VHF radios do not cover the aviation band.
The band coverage is shown on the poweredparagliders page but I didn't look closely enough to see the frequencies I need aren't covered.
Apparently most of the quad kit is the US except for the motor.
The main kit will be delivered here directly - ie not via the agent.
6-Sept-2013.Finally started aerochute training.
I had two flights and a bit over an hour in the air.
There was little wind but fairly bumpy and we called it off.
A good day for gliding but not good for aerochutes.
It wasn't too bad at 1500 feet but I need low level work now.
The quad still hasn't been sent as they are waiting for the fuel injection kit.
28-Sept-2013.Still waiting. I was told the engine arrived over a week ago so I don't know what the hold up is now.
I've just heard there is progress with the HGFA wheel based training manual being sent to CASA for review.
Training via RAA may have been a mistake but it was impossible to know.
Hopefully HGFA will have some sort of conversion from PPC and not require me to do a full training course.
2-Oct-2013.It is supposed to be on its way.
9-Oct-2013.I have the tracking number and it is expected to reach Brisbane next Monday (14th).
I'm not sure when it will reach my door - there could be customs delays (and fees).
10-Oct-2013.It is in customs.
Stressful day - I'm being asked about AUSFTA (Aus-US-free trade agreement) compliance and I'm in no position to know.
I'm owing a $400 port fee so far - will know about taxes and duties soon.
17-Oct-2013.Still waiting. Status changed to "SHIPMENT ON HOLD" yesterday.
I just got a customs related call from someone in Sydney.
He asked what it was. I said it was a para-glider.
He asked if it was an aircraft or helicopter etc.
I said people argue about whether they are aircraft or not.
I repeated is was a para-glider and that it is powered.
I didn't mention wheels - maybe I should have.
Quads probably are aircraft. They are also para-gliders and powered parachutes.
I'd guess "wheeled powered para-glider" is not one of their categories.
There may different taxes/duties depending on what category it goes in.
He also asked if it was new (not second hand). I said it was new. Used goods to private individuals should be GST free.
So its been in Brisbane 8 days and I don't see it arriving today.
Sydney, Australia 17/10/2013 17:10 Cleared Customs
18-Oct-2013.Got invoiced for $1700 in charges including $1204 in GST - it couldn't get much worse.
I paid it - surely it will be here Monday.
21st October 2013.I finally have it.
To stretch things out as long as possible - the truck driver got lost.
It is mostly unpacked and I'll start doing work on it tomorrow.
25th October 2013.It is coming together but still a long way to go.
There are virtually no instructions.
A few things were missing, helmet, reserve chute and quick-pins.
They aren't making radio wiring pigtails anymore and I'm getting a refund.
Some of the allen screws were painted over and the wrench didn't fit anymore.
I had to swap left and right hang bars to get the holes to line up.
The main frame was very hard to join together and even harder to get apart - I had a piece up side down.
The cage is on the quad and the motor is fitted. However there is a tangle of hoses and wires to sort out and secure.
I also held the front seat in place and don't see how that is going to work - there isn't enough room for my legs.
6th Nov 2013.I've been taking my time.
Almost ready to start - just need to fill the oil and go thought the checks.
I've designed and 3d-printed a bunch of parts for the quad.
This includes mounts for the ECU and flyhenry.
Also fuel and other hose clips, battery holder and fuel pump clamp.
The STL files are on thingiverse - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:176490
I did connect the battery and check the PPG gauges are alive.
Above - the PPG gauges mounted below the right A-line assist.
Above - the mounting of the battery, engine management and flyhenry.
7th Nov 2013.Gave the engine a couple of starts.
Idling rough but OK with a few revs.
Didn't run it for long because the oil light stayed on.
Also I have a bad fuel leak at the output of the fuel pump.
The battery may be a bit flat too.
Not doing any more till I get better clamps and/or fuel line.
8th Nov 2013.I fixed the fuel leak. I replace the clear hose between the pump and pressure regulator (or whatever that bit is) with carburetor hose . I used hose clamps instead of zip-ties.
After connecting the right hand cylinder head temperature sensor the red warning led stopped flashing.
The remaining spare connector was for oil-pressure but had the wrong sized connector.
Replaced the connector and oil warning now works.
Gave the engine a longer run - runs fine over 2800 rpm but won't idle.
After a few minutes the engine stopped.
The was air in the fuel line feeding the filter. I bled the line and restarted but not for long.
I could restart after that and put it away rather than run the battery flat.
I don't know what the problem is.
I will try again tomorrow when the engine is cold again.
If I'm able to start it again I may see a pattern.
ATM it seems to be cutting out when it gets warm - head temp was about 50C when it quit.
A pressure gauge on the fuel line would be useful.
9th Nov 2013. A bad morning so far.I managed to start the engine.
I was in the seat watching the gauge. The engine sounded different - louder.
I held 3000rpm for a while then there was a bad noise and I stopped it.
The first thing I noticed was a damage prop. After thinking WTF for a few seconds I saw the exhaust had fallen off. The screws had obviously rattled loose.
I found all the bits expect for one of the exhaust washers. I've spent a long time looking and even did a magnet drag of the area.
I'm guessing the prop is repairable - another job to do.
I guess it is better making these mistakes on the ground - but if I was going to fly I would probably have noticed a loose exhaust in the pre-flight. I also wouldn't have taken off if the engine sounded odd.
The engine seemed to be running on one cylinder for a while so I probably still have other issues.
Maybe it was air in the fuel line.
At least it wasn't an expensive prop.
11th Nov 2013.I designed a 3D printed propeller balancer and repaired the prop.
I've had no luck finding the exhaust gasket or sourcing another one. However I've been given a lead to a local supplier of gasket sheets so I can make my own.
The good news is I showed my friend Sydney how loose the spark plug leads were and he just pushed them on harder. This most likely explains my engine troubles.
I look forward to fixing the exhaust and giving the engine another run.
14th Nov 2013.I made an exhaust gasket and reassembled the exhaust system. Torqued it to about 125 inch/pound because that is the prop setting and I don't have exhaust torque settings.
Two of the springs were loose and I replaced them with shorter ones.
I suspect the knuckles in the exhaust system were compressed during the prop-strike.
I had a vapor lock in the fuel line.
I managed to warm up the engine for the first time. It idled rough but it did idle.
It went as low as 1300 RPM at one point then the idle speed became erratic.
With hands off the throttle it climbed to 3000RMP then slowed, became rough and stopped.
I got the head temp up around 66C.
This test was done using the "rich" setting.
I wanted to try again on "eco" but couldn't get it to start.
I'm letting it cool down and I'll try again.
At least it sounded good for a while.
A short while later.
Cooled to 50C and it started. Again ran OK for a while and stopped at 65C
This run was on the "eco" setting and flipping the switch didn't seem to make any difference.
The oil-cooler was just a little warm. The bottom oil cooler connection was warm but the top one was still fairly cold.
I think I'll put it away and try another cold start in the morning.
15th Nov 2013.From the EFI manual.
3) The fuel return line must be routed back to fuel tank correctly, otherwise you have air bubbles in the fuel supply system, and not able to provide the fuel to the injector.
I don't see a return line.
I don't know what blackhawk intended me to do but the recommended fuel circuit will require an extra T-piece and another fuel tank connection.
The engine came with the pump connected to the regulator without a T-piece so I think they got it wrong.
16th Nov 2013.Matt for www.ecotrons.com/ has confirmed that a returned line is required and also that some installations run open loop (I don't have O2 sensors).
I've bought a T-piece and will modify the fuel circuit and lower the pump at the same time.
I've designed and am printing new pump clamps.
17th Nov 2013.
Above the new fuel pump position. The black hose goes up to a T-piece.
The front hose is the return line.
(Yes I do know there is a loose clamp in the background).
18th Nov 2013.Curiouser and curiouser.
I redid the fuel system as planned.
The motor ran as before and died as before but at a lower temperature.
This may have been a different issue though.
I have the fuel return going to the rear tank and fuel is not being sucked from rear to front tank so the front tank was sucked dry about the same time the engine died. There was still fuel in the line to the pump so the timing was probably a co-incidence.
The curious thing is the cap on the front tank appears to be vented so this could never work. It also means fuel should not have been forced into the rear tank by air/vapor pressure in the front tank - but it was.
(Later) Mystery solved. The cap has one way valve in it. It can suck air into the tank but it can't go the other way.
I think I need to put the return into the front tank (not trivial).
I may have to go for a single tank system for now.
I removed the rear tank and connected the return line to the front.
After recharging the battery I got it to start and did my first run past the warmup phase.
I couldn't rev beyond 4000RPM or so because of location (think 3 little pigs and a house made of wood) and only got to 72C cylinder temp.
Idle was rough and RPM erratic but a lot better than before.
For the first time it feel like it wants to fly.
19th Nov 2013.First hang test.
I don't have much fuel on board and will do another one tomorrow. I don't have the rear tank and want to test with full fuel in main tank.
The balance doesn't seem very sensitive to CG changes. Moving my arms and legs fore and aft makes very little difference to the hang angle.
I want to hang it a little higher but I've had enough rope work for one day.
20th Nov 2013.A higher hang test.
With no rear tank, 9 litres in the main tank and me in plain clothes on the seat - the distance from the rear tube joiner bolt to the back of the hang-point billet is 130mm.
This is with the front wheels about 225mm higher than the rear.
When sitting on the ground the hang-point tubes slope down at the front. When hanging as above the tube slopes up about 1.8 degrees.
Above - roped up for the hang test. Note that the hang-points are not in position.
22th Nov 2013. Ready to ground test?The hang-points are secured with aircraft grade bolts.
The fuel tank bracket is stuck down.
The intake air temperature sensor is in place.
Some tweaks to do - there is a rub point on the fuel tank and a rub point on the radiator.
The cage is not centred.
I'd be happy to do some taxiing as it is.
I need good weather and somewhere to do it.
PPC training has stalled for the moment.
I can't afford to forfeit the training fees and start again with HGFA.
8th Dec 2013.I still have engine problems - bad above 6000RMP.
I took a break and designed a throttle holder.
I wanted to do this at some point and doing it now frees up my hand while doing engine work.
My back-ordered bits arrived a bit over a week ago.
I now have reserve chute, bracket, helmet and spare quick-pins.
12th Dec 2013.I look a closer look at procal and the supplied ECU configuration.
I've noticed both the "altitude correction" and "air temperature correction" tables end at 6000RPM.
I think that may explain the problem above 6000RPM.
(later) Ecotrons says this isn't it.
He wants 10 minutes of captured engine data which I'll try to do when the weather clears up.
13th Dec 2013.
Capturing 11 minutes of data.
Above is one of the plots of the data.
Around the 550 second mark I took it to >6000 and the injectors turned off.
reply from Ecotrons Customer Support ZHB
From your logged the data, the map sensor has problem, the ECU runs in limp mode, it max speed limit is 6000rpm.
You need change a new MAP sensor, and then try to start.
15th Dec 2013.Halved the length of the tube on the MAP sensor - no difference.
I have the ECU LED lit - it hasn't always been lit.
18th Dec 2013.A new MAP sensor is on the way. It could take some time.
28th Dec 2013. The big kite.
Not much is happening on the PPG or training front.
My aim to fly this year isn't going to happen.
I thought it might be time to unfold the wing and get familiar with it.
I don't have a kiting harness - I bought some straps and carabinas in case I needed them but didn't attempt to make a harness.
I had second thoughts about attempting to kite when I saw the wing span was over half the width on the yard I was in and there was a barbed wire fence on either side.
The lines were slightly tangled but we got them looking reasonable.
I gave it a tug without holding the A-lines and got it to do the "wall" style inflation.
I had no idea how much the A-lines needed to come forward to get lift so I tried maybe 250mm.
The wing came off the ground but I didn't try to take it any higher.
Things were as I expected except it felt like pulling a rigid object not a pile of cloth.
Perhaps foolishly I got game and did a second launch to the overhead position.
There was practically no wind on the ground and I didn't have wind sock up.
Went the wing came overhear it swung maybe 75 degrees to the right.
I got the feeling the pull was too much for me and I'd best deflate it ASAP or it, me or both would end up on the barbs.
I let go of my left strap and it came down without any drama.
If the wing was on the quad with such a big error in wing direction I'm not sure what would have happened.
All in all it went fairly well for my first attempt. I have done a little bit of two string parafoil kite flying and maybe that helped. I've also flown parafoil models.
For me having 36 square metres of wing overhead looked pretty impressive. Unfortunately the videoing didn't go well - maybe next time there will be a youtube clip.
8th Jan 2014. New MAP sensor.The MAP sensor arrived a few days ago.
I fitted it a little while ago and the engine now revs beyond 6K RPM.
The error LED is also out.
However idle is still really bad.
I've noticed the two (factory set) idle air adjust screws are set differently on the two sides.
I reckon that is part of the idle problem.
9th Jan 2014. Idle adjust.Both idle air screws were screwed in to the limit.
I adjusted them and have a reasonable idle.
It isn't exactly silky smooth but good enough to fly I think.
13th Jan 2014. Situation normal AFU.I bought 3 ball compasses from DX.COM to try out.
The small bicycle compass is good apart from being too small.
The other two compasses point in the opposite direction.
One of those is marked in Japanese - probably my mistake.
How did I get two out of three compasses defective.
Was it dumb luck or are there thousands of people out there who don't know if they're are coming or going.
So many things have gone wrong I have to consider the possibility of a global conspiracy to keep me grounded.
The compasses in the photo are never going to work properly so close together.
This isn't the problem even so they should still align with the North of one near the South of the next.
This is also the case if they are all wrong.